37 thoughts on “Even The French Are Puzzled By Obama’s Nobel”

  1. Or very well, depending on your point of view.

    Given the idiotic awards they’ve been making, destroying the Nobel Peace’s Prize’s credibility and value can be seen as a positive thing. Now, future awards won’t do as much damage.

    And if Obama accepts it, a guy who will have just proven himself to be dangerously narcissist will have tipped his hand to everyone who isn’t in the cult. That isn’t the worst thing, either.

  2. I don’t see how it’s going to turn out badly inasmuch as there won’t be any actual consequences. People will talk about it for the next week or so. Those who already mock Obama will continue, just as those who defend him will continue. But nothing will actually _happen._

    I am among those who don’t believe he deserves it and that it was a mistake to award it to him. But to say this is worse than giving it to someone like Arafat or Kissinger is just plain silly. Obama is not directly responsible for killing innocent people.

  3. mark, I’m not so sure; it depends on what percentage of the truly independent vote views it as either a bribe (to be “peaceful”) or as an instance of hubris rewarded.

    Now, it really isn’t Obama’s fault that the Nobel Committee gave him the award (if he had a better track record when it came to international “fixes” I might not have made that statement) but how he accepts it matters, and I’m of the opinion that the “Call to Action” theme is exactly wrong.

    The award certainly can’t hurt him with the believers. With the agnostics I think it will be a pretty big negative, and I think it will be a millstone around his neck in 2012: “We need a President of the United States, not a President of the World. Vote xxxx – let’s focus on America.”

    Needs work, but the theme will have traction.

  4. phantomnut,

    It’s hard for me to imagine that a single voter’s decision three years from now will be influenced by any of this. Obama will be re-elected or not based on the state of the economy at the time and, to a lesser degree, whether or not the world seems to be falling apart. This will have zero impact. It might influence next week’s approval-rating polls, but those, in turn, don’t have any impact except how cable-news talk shows massage their usual themes. Nothing meaningful, significant or even mildly interesting will come of this.

    I take that back. It will reinforce existing beliefs that much more. I suppose that could be considered mildly interesting.

  5. Yeah, the whole thing is weird. I wouldn’t accept it, I would feel sick about the whole thing.

    Then again, can you think of any politicians who would turn a Nobel down? Even if they knew they didn’t deserve it? I can’t. But then again, that’s why I have a teaching job with double overtime, and not schmoozing in front of the tv screen.

  6. Le Duc Tho declined the 1973 Peace Prize—jointly awarded to him and Henry Kissinger—because it was awarded to them even though Vietnam was not yet at peace.

    Got to give it to old Tho for having some integrity.

    How it plays out with Obama moderates who have become disillusioned to different extents will determine whether this remains relevant. Ann Althouse is an interesting example; she seems to be pretty actively angered by the whole thing. Deserved or not, I think this will act as an accelerant in hardening a lot of opinions against Obama the human being. And that has major consequences not only in getting himself re-elected, but in how effective he’ll be in helping others get or retain offices in 2010.

  7. Well, he’s not giving it back.

    I have a suggestion on pageantry. When the medal is brought to him, Obama should grab it out of the presenter’s hands and put it around his own neck. The way the Emperor Napoleon grabbed the crown from the Pope and crowned himself. I mean, let’s just get it over with.

  8. mark;

    It’s never one thing, but each incident like this is a straw and different voters have different back strengths. Thinking of it as raising the mental price of supporting Obama by 1¢ — not of itself a big deal, but do it enough times and it makes a big difference.

  9. Annoying Old Guy,

    I can see how this might alter the perception people have of the committee that _gave_ the award, but I don’t see how anyone can hold it against Obama for _receiving_ it. What kind of person lets something like this influence his vote? Maybe we should re-think voting requirements.

    Again, it will simply reinforce previously held beliefs (see #s 7 & 8 above), not change any.

    I’ll make you a bet. I’ll buy you a beer if you can find a single reference to this 9 months from today on any reasonably major news media outlet. (I reserve the right to define “reasonably” & “major”).

  10. Maybe we should re-think voting requirements.

    You mean like raise the price of votes from one carton of cigarettes to two, to attract a better class of voter?

    The Nobel Committee, BTW, is the Frankenstein of the Norwegian Parliament. Maybe Norway should rethink their goddamn voting requirements.

  11. Mark;

    Politicians frequently suffer for things that are not their fault but that exemplify / signify other concerns. It’s a reminder, not a cause.

    I won’t take the bet, not only because I expect this to fade but because Old Media does its best to cover up for Obama. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be in anyone’s mind.

  12. Obama is not directly responsible for killing innocent people.

    But Kissinger is, presumably for having a position of power in an American administration during which a counterinsurgency campaign in Asia killed civilians.

  13. I personally think the whole thing is silly.

    It’s silly to award it to him (I expect to receive the Nobel in Physics next year, since I plan to reconcile general relativity and quantum physics in a few years.)

    It’s also silly to hate him for not turning it down.

    But I would like to thank all the rabid Republicans this time around for acting so instantly childish and churlish (I’m especially looking at you, Michael Steele) that the rest of us can’t even express mild bewilderment without being lumped in with you lot. Stay classy, guys.

  14. bgates

    bq. “But Kissinger is, presumably for having a position of power in an American administration during which a counterinsurgency campaign in Asia killed civilians.”

    Because clearly, that would never happen now…

  15. I would like to thank all the rabid Republicans this time around for acting so instantly childish and churlish

    Here’s the statement that has caused Marcus such distress:

    The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’ It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights,” RNC chairman Michael Steele said in a statement this morning. “One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.

    Man up, Marcus. That’s as anodyne a criticism as any sentient person could deliver. It’s certainly milder than the DNC response which condemned Steele as having joined the Taliban. (They must have meant the bad part of the Taliban, not the Taliban Obama wants to have join the Afghan government as he seeks to make a second Hezbollah in the Middle East.*)

    *According to the Washington Post, “Some inside the White House have cited Hezbollah, the armed Lebanese political movement, as an example of what the Taliban could become.”

  16. It’s a ludicrous, sour grapes, partisan complaint, bgates. It doesn’t even pretend to make sense in context, although if the prize were the Nobel Prize for Economics it might. It also fails on exactly the same merits that the Nobel Peace Prize failed– his term isn’t over and despite pundits who’d have you believe otherwise, there’s no good way to know what the economy and the job market will look like in 2012.

    Not to mention, it’s one thing for a bunch of blog commenters to wonder why the hell he got the award, and quite another thing for prominent political elites to basically piss on it in public.

    Not that prominent bloggers can’t make statements below their own dignity– Erick Erickson, I’m looking at you. Affirmative action quota, indeed.

    The DNC response is a bit caustic, too, but under the circumstances, I find myself– surprisingly– in agreement. It’s a sad day when the Republicans are taking a perverse pleasure in seeing Obama embarassed abroad by not getting the Olympics and spraying bile and sour grapes over him being honored abroad.

    Any Republicans who may be reading this, take note: You are not winning sympathy for yourselves, here.

  17. The Neo-Neocon makes the same point: leftist are assuming that the right is in a state of sick rage over this, and they are seeing what they assume, but nothing like that is the case (link).

    Given the bile some lefties are displaying, the obvious explanation is projection.

  18. It’s a “partisan complaint”? By the head of a political party? My stars and garters, no wonder you are so bent out of shape.

    You’re an insane person.

    It doesn’t even pretend to make sense in context


    The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?

    See, what he’s saying there is that Americans are wondering what Obama has accomplished. Clear?

  19. It’s a partisan complaint that has nothing to do with the award. If the prize had been for economics, the complaint actually made– which was about jobs and economic recovery– would have made sense.

    As it is, the complaint made makes just about as much sense as complaining that Obama has not reconciled quantum gravity and general relativity, so he doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Just because Steele is the head of a political party doesn’t mean he has to make blithering incoherent complaints, or act like a graceless boor every single minute of every single day. It is not actually a requirement of the job.

    Or is it?

    Because if it is, well, I’ll just add that to my list of why I’ll never join a political party.

  20. Uncomfortable as I am quoting Pat Buchanan, he nailed it. Michael Steel had a Kanye West moment, grabbing the mike and telling everyone Beyoncé deserved it more.

  21. Shoulda paid more attention to that discomfort, Lazarus. Your choice to quote a fool speaks volumes about your judgment.

    Aside from that, the analogy doesn’t hold. Beyonce actually made a video.

  22. No, in this analogy, Barack Obama would be Taylor Swift (who actually did make a video, and a good one).

    Barack Obama as Taylor Swift is an idea that shouldn’t have been thought of, let alone written down and published, let alone picked up and passed on. Dudes: let that one go.

  23. I forgot Barack Obama has a Grammy too (link).

    (And the Queen has his speeches on an iPod, since he gave it to her himself, even though she already had one – but not one with the One’s speeches!)

    So he’s … the first US president to chair the United Nations Security Council (drum roll): Grammy-winning, Sovereign-instructing, Peace Prize-winning President Barack Hussein Obama, Nobel Laureate in Chief, whose praises American children sing and whose policies they sign again in support of, and to whom all must bow low in adoration. Except of course for the King of Saudi Arabia, to whom he bows.

    Hmm. Needs some more honorary doctorates, for the letters. He’ll get those too, nothing is surer.

  24. Forgot: President of the Harvard Law Review too.

    Can you imagine what brilliant work he did to earn that? Everybody at the Harvard Law Review had to imagine it!

    If it wasn’t for lingering “Christianist” influence, the Senate would surely have decreed him a god by now.

  25. Remember to help Grammy-winning, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate United States President (etc.) Barack Hussein Obama win the Heisman Trophy too (link). I am writing him in daily.

  26. Tell you what, Glen (#19):

    I’ll back off on that one as being over the top. (Although I can certainly see where it’s coming from– the Republican voices are getting more churlish and crotchety by the week.)

    It’d be nice to see people backing off on outrageous claims that accepting a Nobel Peace Prize is evidence of narcissism, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

    (I’m not backing off on the claim that Michael Steele is a graceless buffoon who did the Republicans more damage than help with that absurd crack.)

  27. Marcus –

    Who gives a damn if he helps or hurts Republicans? He’s the RNC’s guy; if they don’t like him, they can get a different one.

    Would you express the same concern for the DNC, or do you regard people like Brad Woodhouse as net assets, whose intemperate ejaculations are understandable?

    Understandable, because some people are so “churlish” (and where the fuck does that Marquis of Queensbury perjorative come from?) that reasonable people can’t resist equating them with terrorists?

  28. Oh, I see. “reconciling quantum gravity and general relativity” is as germane to the office of President, as important to the public, and as difficult as getting unemployment below 8% or the deficit below six hundred billion dollars.

    Steele’s comment amounts to, “That’s great – now fix the economy!” Jon Stewart must have tossed a coin to decide whether to deliver that terroristic line or decapitate a rabbi and his children.

    I won’t back off my position that if you want to use the word “partisan” as part of a complaint, you should have someone explain to you what it means first.

  29. I need to revise again: that’s Barack Hussein Obama two-time (link) (2006 and 2008) Grammy Award winning former President of the Harvard Law Review, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, President of the United States of America etc..

    If there’s any way he can become “the Oscar winning” for “playing” “Himself” in a bit of stock footage in a documentary, he surely will.

    This is not hubris. A man of overweening pride would not have humbled himself before the Saudi king.

    It’s the release of many other people’s passionate need to give public adoration to someone like him, regardless of actual accomplishments, based on social categories. It’s the reverse of the coin from the hysterical, vomiting, head-exploding hatred that’s been poured on Sarah Palin since before anything was known about her except what social categories she fitted into, and that she hadn’t killed her handicapped baby.

    It’s better to focus on the unearned love side of the coin rather than on the unearned hate side. Barack Obama’s side of the coin is the funny side.

  30. Glen:

    Yes, I frequently find the DNC to be a twit and churl, and when the Democratic Party was not largely in power (and thus, screechier) I made my opinion known. Typically not here, since no one was especially interested in defending him. I mean, really, in that time frame, we were talking about Howard Dean, of all people.


    You’re missing the point. Let me break it down as simply as I can for you. There is a Nobel Prize for Peace. There is another one for Economics. There is a third one for Physics. (There are more, but they are unimportant, here.)

    Obama was awarded the one for Peace. Michael Steele, being a red-meat idiot, started babbling about how Obama hadn’t done anything about the economy. But– follow me closely, here– he didn’t win the prize for Economics. So in the context of the Nobel Prize for Peace, the observation that Obama hasn’t fixed the economy is about as sensible as the observation that he hasn’t solved an important open problem in physics.

    That wasn’t what the award was for.

  31. Marcus, your point is just absurd. Go back and read what Steele said. He said, “President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

    He didn’t say the Nobel Peace prize is for job creation. Your characterization of him as a babbling red-meat idiot is unbelievable.

  32. Marcus, you don’t get to set the context for what anybody says. Besides which Steele addressed and dismissed the idea that Obama deserved this award – not an uncommon notion, witness AL’s poll of the French, or the fact that a Google search for “obama nobel” yields a suggested related search “obama nobel peace prize joke” – before moving on to things that are more important to Americans than a worldwide popularity contest judged by five Norwegian leftists.

    In the context of the current economic climate, the peace prize would be fairly unimportant even if the winner had done something to deserve it.

    Do keep trying to talk down to me, though. It’s cute, like that youtube video of the cat playing the keyboard.

  33. bgates,

    _before moving on to things that are more important to Americans_

    May I kindly, respectfully and gently suggest that you & everyone else regard that as reasonable piece of advice.

  34. Marcus Vitruvius:

    The DNC response is a bit caustic, too, but under the circumstances, I find myself– surprisingly– in agreement. It’s a sad day when the Republicans are taking a perverse pleasure in seeing Obama embarassed abroad by not getting the Olympics and spraying bile and sour grapes over him being honored abroad.

    The sour bile being sprayed around is from the DNC and you (since you endorse it).

    Conservatives are in a state of innocent merriment. It’s sweet relief that the latest whacky piece of Barack Obama news doesn’t involve him wasting astronomical and unprecedented sums of money, trying to force through radical and unwanted reforms, or conceding ground to America’s enemies while undercutting its allies.

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